Baby Artichokes... A Completely Edible Treat!
Baby Artichokes are fun because with just a little trimming you can eat the whole thing. A Baby Artichoke is not a separate variety. It’s just a smaller, and a fully mature version of the traditional Artichoke. Its petite size comes from being picked from the lower part of the plant, where Mother Nature has hidden these scrumptious, tiny treats.
Baby Artichokes are easy to prepare, cook and eat because they haven’t developed the fuzzy portion of the choke in the center.
After rinsing, snap off the lower petals until you reach the yellow-green core. Use a knife and cut off the top half inch of the Baby Artichoke, or just below the green tips of the petals. Trim the stems and all remaining dark-green areas from the base. Slice, halve or quarter per your recipe directions or preference.
Tip: To preserve the color, immediately soak prepared Baby Artichokes in acidulated water (water with lemon juice or vinegar) until you are ready to cook with them to prevent browning caused by oxidation. (Optional)
Baby Artichokes can be cooked just like the larger-sized Artichokes, but for not as long. Baby Artichokes are done when a toothpick or knife tip will go into the base of the Artichoke easily.
Steaming Baby Artichokes
Steaming Baby Artichokes is the ideal cooking method for maintaining the high nutrient content for which an Artichoke is known.
Arrange Baby Artichokes in a steamer insert or basket in a pot deep enough to keep the Baby Artichokes above water. Cover tightly and steam over rapid boiling water (making sure to maintain the water level), until Baby Artichokes are tender. Depending on size and quantity of Baby Artichokes, steaming time can range from 15 to 20 minutes. Lift out carefully and drain.
Microwaving Baby Artichokes
Arrange Baby Artichokes in a microwaveable bowl. Add about 1-2 inches of water. Cover bowl with microwavable plate or plastic wrap. Microwave on high until tender:
Approximately 10-12 minutes for 6-8 Baby Artichokes.
Approximately 12-15 minutes for 10-12 Baby Artichokes.
Depending on the size and quantity of Baby Artichokes you are cooking, it may be necessary to heat them an additional 1-5 minutes to obtain complete tenderness throughout the Baby Artichoke, as microwave oven cooking times may vary. Keep covered and let the Artichokes stand for 5 minutes prior to serving.
Sautéing Baby Artichokes
Place quartered Baby Artichokes in a skillet or wok lightly coated with olive oil. Cover and sauté slowly on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until they begin to brown to your preference. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic.
Grilling Baby Artichokes
Grilling adds color and a smoked flavor to Baby Artichokes, but Baby Artichokes need to be pre-cooked before grilling. To pre-cook Baby Artichokes, microwave, steam or boil. Brush cooked Baby Artichokes with olive oil and grill — turning frequently and watching carefully — over hot coals just until nicely browned, or charred to your preference.
Option: Cut Baby Artichokes in half before grilling for bite-size taste.
Boiling Baby Artichokes
Boiling is a traditional way of cooking Artichokes. However, boiling also extracts the most levels of healthy nutrients from the Artichoke when compared to any other cooking method, no longer making it the preferred option.
If you choose to boil your Baby Artichokes, add whole, trimmed Baby Artichokes to enough boiling water to cover the Artichokes. Cover tightly and simmer just until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes (time will vary depending on how many Baby Artichokes you are cooking at a time). Drain well.